Skip to main content

Full text of "Verdict On India"

See other formats

78                                      VERDICT ON INDIA
many pangs, for the simple reason that religion, to the average
British public servant or soldier, is a matter best left to parsons,
who are well advised not to make too obvious a parade of their
peculiar ideas.
Those of us, however, who think that the most important thing
that ever happened to the world was the birth of Christ, and
believe that Christianity is not only true but wholy modern,
cannot very well keep it out of our discussion of modern problems.
It is the only standard we accept, and if it makes other standards
look shoddy, we cannot help it. We want to clear the air, to let
in the light, even if it shines, with merciless clarity, on our
miserable selves*
Once again let us emphasize what this chapter is, and what it is
not. It is an attack on a system, it is not an attack on a people.
"The necessity of insisting on this distinction is emphasized by a
remark made to me by a Muslim friend who has just read these
pages. He said, *Do you wish to imply that there are no good
Hindus ?' The answer, of course, is an emphatic negative. There
are 'good* Mormons, there are 'good3 atheists, and in every walk
of Indian life there are 'good* Hindus, men and women who are
pure of heart and kindly in spirit. But they are 'good' in spite of
their religion rather than because of it.
For the last time, these are our two main points.
A. Pure Hinduism, as expounded in the Gita, is an intensely
difficult and exceptional state to attain, involving complete con-
centration on the Self with the ultimate object of uniting the
Self with the Absolute. As a social force it may therefore be
almost entirely discounted.
B* Everyday Hinduism, as preached and practised by millions,
has inevitably degenerated because it has no historical authority
and no body of doctrine. Such a degeneration of the Christian,
Muslim or Buddhist religions, however decadent their exponents
might become, is almost unthinkable. There are certain things
that the Christians, Muslims and Buddhists must believe. The
Hindu, on the contrary, can believe almost anything he likes,
•With the result that his religion has become a hotch-potch of the